Playing Gotcha

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I am appalled by the tone of our local politics. I have been bombarded with negative mailings and social media from a Political Action Committee (PAC) called Friends of Fort Myers Beach. PAC’s exist to influence elections. Our local version is the brainchild of Beverly Milligan, who also founded the “non-political” Estero Island Taxpayers Association (EITA). Ms Milligan said herself that EITA gave money to Friends of Fort Myers Beach PAC. She also said she would welcome donations from donors outside of our state. Their target is Dennis Boback, whom they describe as a “tax and spend” councilperson. If this wasn’t so tragic, it would be laughable. Those who follow Dennis’s political career know about his fiscal conservatism.

Island residents are capable of debating issues and making decisions for our island’s future. We can air out our differences and create policies that promote our values. We do not need a PAC to influence our political decision making. And we certainly do not need outside money financing negative campaign ads.

Unfortunately, this PAC is a symptom of a larger disease. I have experienced a discernible increase in mean spirited, judgmental, divisive discourse directed at people rather than policy. The ends have come to justify the means. “Winning” justifies whatever behavior is necessary to make that happen. Listening to each other has been replaced by a quest to find “gotcha” moments. We even have a local radio station and newspaper that play by these rules. I am tired of it. We are better than this. I hope we all commit to treat each other the way we would like to be treated. Let’s reclaim our island! And get out and vote!

Dan Hendrickson
Fort Myers Beach